The San Antonio Spurs are who we thought they were without Kawhi Leonard. Not up to the task of staying on the floor with the Golden State Warriors, the Spurs dropped Game 2 at Oracle, 136-100.
Minutes after the 2017 NBA Draft Lottery ended, the Western Conference Finals kicked off as Leonard sat out due to an an ankle injury sustained in Game 1. Zaza Pachulia‘s contest of Leonard’s shot has been debated for days, but without Leonard it was at least clear that San Antonio is in for a rough series against the Finals favorites.
There wasn’t a single point in the game where the Spurs could get any kind of grip on the game, as the Warriors opened with a 33-point quarter. Perhaps more importantly, they held San Antonio to a 16-point first quarter. Golden State exploded in the second quarter, dropping 39 points in 12 minutes to take a 72-44 lead into the half.
San Antonio was more competitive in the second half, amassing a deficit of just eight points over the final two periods, but they never showed enough to be able to get them over the hump.
LaMarcus Aldridge was particularly dreadful, scoring just eight points on 4-of-11 shooting, adding four rebounds, three assists, and two blocks. Jonathon Simmons led the way in scoring for the Spurs, dropping 22 points as a starter. Davis Bertans had 13 points off the bench.
For Golden State it was Stephen Curry leading the way with an easy 29 points, going 6-of-9 from 3-point range while adding seven rebounds, seven assists, and three steals. Kevin Durant had 16 points and Patrick McCaw added 18 off the bench. Pachulia left the game in the first quarter with a heel injury after a dunk.
The Warriors now lead the Spurs 2-0 heading back to San Antonio. Game 3 isn’t until Saturday, but there’s still no telling whether Leonard will be ready to go. It’s hard to imagine him coming back at full strength even if he can make it onto the floor, but the Spurs desperately need him.
Yes, Golden State’s offense seems only able to be slowed with Leonard in the game, but the San Antonio attack is just as lacking without their star. The Warriors clamped down on Aldridge in Game 2, and without any kind of dynamism on the wing or added ball handling with Leonard gone, it’s easy for one of the best defensive teams in the NBA in Golden State to gameplan for their opponent.
We thought this series might be over after Leonard’s injury, and Tuesday night’s dismantling made that the most likely scenario moving forward.